How are Surrogate Mothers Screened?
The screening process depends on the agency with whom intended parents choose to work. Surrogacy agencies often develop their own processes and requirements.
When intended parents decide to pursue surrogacy, they are trusting that their surrogate is physically and emotionally healthy and ready to commit to the process. Surrogacy agencies often provide thorough screening services to gather important information about prospective surrogates, ensure they fully understand what they are committing to, and protect the intended parents in the process.
Most surrogacy agencies offer comprehensive screening services. Even if you find a surrogate independently, an agency’s screening services will ensure she has completed this essential step of the surrogacy process.
Why Surrogacy Agencies Screen Surrogates
Surrogates assume an incredible responsibility and provide intended parents with one of life’s most precious gifts. It is important to work with a professional who takes the screening process seriously. Thorough screening services protect surrogates, intended parents and surrogacy agencies in a number of ways:
- Ensuring the surrogate understands the process – Surrogacy is a serious commitment, and many women express interest in surrogacy before they are truly ready to commit to the process. Screening services help educate prospective surrogates and “weed out” women who aren’t yet ready to commit to intended parents.
- Determining she is healthy enough for surrogacy – The surrogate screening process includes a thorough medical evaluation and examination of her medical and pregnancy history. These services ensure she is truly healthy enough to carry a surrogate pregnancy.
- Confirming that she is emotionally ready for surrogacy – Psychological evaluations are also included in most surrogate screening processes to further educate prospective surrogates about the emotional ups and downs of the process. These services also evaluate her support system and her feelings toward surrogacy.
- Ensuring she has the support she needs – The surrogate’s spouse or partner is often also included in the screening process to ensure her family understands and is committed to the surrogacy process.
How Surrogates are Screened
The screening process will depend in part on the agency or professional intended parents choose to work with. Surrogacy agencies often develop their own processes and requirements for surrogate mothers. In general, the following services are included in most surrogate screening processes:
- Medical, Social and Drug History: Many agencies ask women interested in surrogacy to first submit self-disclosed medical, social and drug history information for themselves and their families. Later, they will also be required to submit official medical records from their physician.
- Birth Records: In addition to their general medical records, prospective surrogates will need to submit birth records from any previous pregnancies. Most agencies require their surrogates to have prior successful pregnancies with no major complications.
- Medical Workup: Prospective surrogates will be required to undergo a complete medical workup to check their blood type and hormone levels. The surrogate will need to complete a pap smear, uterine check, STD testing, drug screen and more. Her spouse or partner will also undergo the drug screen and blood tests to test for infectious diseases. These exams ensure the prospective surrogate is physically healthy and ready to carry a pregnancy to term.
- Background Checks: The agency will run criminal and child abuse background checks to ensure prospective surrogates have no prior convictions that might impact the safety of the surrogacy process.
- In-Home Assessment: A licensed social worker will meet with the prospective surrogate and her spouse or partner in their home. During this visit, they will discuss the surrogate’s motivations for surrogacy, any fears or concerns she may have and her partner’s commitment to surrogacy. This visit helps the social worker get to know the prospective surrogate and ensures she is a good fit for the agency.
- Counseling and Support: Prospective surrogates will be asked to meet with a psychologist to determine that they are emotionally ready for the challenges of surrogacy. The psychologist will talk about any potentially difficult feelings the surrogate may experience during pregnancy and following delivery. Ongoing counseling and support services will also be available to her throughout the process.
The most important requirement for prospective surrogates is that they are ready to commit to intended parents for the duration of the surrogacy process. Throughout the screening process, surrogacy professionals will also ensure the prospective surrogate meets certain qualifications. These qualifications vary by agency, but most require surrogates to meet the following criteria:
- Be within a certain age range
- Have a healthy BMI
- No smoking or drug use
- Have at least one prior successful pregnancy
- No major complications from previous pregnancies
- Have a limited number of previous Cesarean births
- Be financially independent
- Have transportation to and from surrogacy appointments
- No felony convictions
Prospective surrogates will have access to education and support throughout the screening process to ensure they feel confident and committed to their surrogacy plans. Once a prospective surrogate has completed the necessary screening steps and has met all qualifications, she is ready to be matched with intended parents.
The screening process is designed to improve the chances of a successful surrogacy and to provide all parties with a safe and secure surrogacy experience. To learn more about a specific agency’s surrogate screening process and requirements, visit the following surrogacy professionals:
- American Surrogacy
- Circle Surrogacy
- Fertility SOURCE
- Surrogate Alternatives
- Surrogacy America
- Extraordinary Conceptions
- West Coast Surrogacy
Are you interested in learning more about surrogacy or starting the process? Complete our form to request free surrogacy information now.